Who will bell the IM cat?

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Photo: AFP

TO A media ever ready to jump to conclusions, a terror attack often provides vital fodder. On 21 February, 16 people died in two bomb blasts in Hyderabad. Coming a few days after Afzal Guru’s hanging, the blasts evoked emotional responses from Kashmir as well as a cross-section of civil society. Contradicting the ‘unofficial’ intelligence warning of another attack, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said he hadn’t received any specific alert.

Meanwhile, the media was abuzz with several conspiracy theories, with the needle of suspicion pointing towards the Indian Mujahideen (IM). Desperate to break the ‘exclusive’ piece of evidence and name a mastermind, several news channels had sketches of possible masterminds ready — a formidable task even for leading investigating agencies. One news channel even flashed images of Pakistan’s Muttahida Quami Movement member Manzar Imam as the brain behind the blasts, though the act and the man cannot be connected by any stretch of imagination; Imam was killed by the Taliban in January.

If anything, the reporting on the Hyderabad blasts is symptomatic of a larger problem with the Indian media’s coverage of terror attacks, and the IM in particular. Press Council of India Chairman Justice Markandey Katju’s claim that the IM is a product of the media’s fertile imagination doesn’t help either.

There may be a grain of truth in Katju’s claim, and it demands fact-checking right from the IM’s genesis. So far, the sole proof of the outfit’s existence are the mails it sent to news channels after the 2007 terror attacks. Though experts have blamed lack of coordination between state agencies and the NIA as a reason why the IM myth is yet to be busted, it could simply be the outcome of a desire for easy answers and instant gratification. As the then Gujarat DGP, PC Pande, pointed out in his press conference after the 2008 Gujarat blasts, “You remove S and I from SIMI and it becomes IM, that’s all.”

Pande was referring to the Gujarat blasts investigation, which can easily qualify as one of the shoddiest ever. Nearly 70 accused continue to languish in Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati Jail with the trial yet to begin. The Gujarat Police had named six ‘masterminds’ in a span of three weeks.

A 2009 investigation by TEHELKA tracked down the star witness of the blasts, who tore the police theory apart, proving that those implicated in the case were, in fact, innocent. Surprisingly, the chargesheet suggests the police had been keeping a tab on their activities. How could these men carry out the attacks if they were already under surveillance? That question remains unanswered, and unasked by the media.

Ever since, the country has witnessed several terror attacks with roughly two dozen masterminds and a horrifying number of the accused detained, arrested and acquitted in several cases, including blasts at Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid, Pune’s German Bakery, Bengaluru’s Chinnaswamy Stadium, and the 2006 Mumbai serial bombings. In the much publicised German Bakery case, the Mumbai ATS picked up the wrong person, who was later acquitted with a public apology. But, post the recent Hyderabad blasts, the police again knocked on the doors of six men who were acquitted in the Mecca Masjid case, and detained them for questioning.

Though it may be too soon to nail the real culprits, with the police still struggling with the forensics of the case, it is time the investigative agencies came clean on the IM theory, backed by facts and details. It’s also time the contradictory claims about the Bhatkal brothers (Yasin Bhatkal, admittedly the planter of bombs in most cases, is still in the country, but hasn’t been tracked down) were resolved. If the prime accused in the 12-odd cases attributed to the IM are behind bars, why are there glaring discrepancies in the versions offered by various agencies? A similar question must be asked of Sanatan Sanstha and Abhinav Bharat, outfits formed around the same time as the IM.

Perhaps, it would be a good idea for Shinde to get the investigative agencies to put a stop on selective leaks to the media, and get the Delhi Police Special Cell, the NIA and the Mumbai ATS to sit together and act on the basis of evidence. Till then, myths, both old and new, will continue to flourish.

rana@tehelka.com

15 COMMENTS

  1. Bingo!!!thats exactly the whole indian minority & secularist people are saying. ofcourse, both congress & the other so called secularist parties are too busy planning 2014, they cannot help. Honestly, we as hyderabadi muslims, are not afraid of death in a bomb blast but are more afraid of what would happen to us after the bomb blast.

    Love you Tehelka.

  2. There are credible leads that point to IM in most of the attacks. Unfortunately, Tehelka with its Islamist agenda will never understand that. No wonder you guys play no role in the discourse of this country!

    • Don’t be biased… it’s not like sitting in front of internet and commenting whatever you want…So, please confirm and get into the source of the news from where you received it. There are enough selfish personalities to spread rumours against others to benefit themselves. Thus, be careful while passing comments

      • Well probably IM comes from SIMI when you remove the S and I.

        Didnt Gujarat DGP Pande explain how logical his explanation is about the existence of IM. Unfortunately, since 2008, no chargesheet could be filed yet even though he has such “logical” proof of IM’s existence

  3. If there was an article published in any Indian newspaper where a journalist denied that Hindu extremists particpated in or organized terrorist attacks in India (like in Mecca Masjid, Samjhuta etc), then that person will instantly be labelled communal and a lackey of the Sangh Parivar, particularly by news organizations like Tehelka. Yet we find a perfectly decent intelligent, liberal(?) journalist with a Muslim last name hinting that perhaps these terrorist attacks are not organized by Muslim groups like IM, indeed perhaps all terrorist attacks in India are the handiwork of Hindu extremists – and Indian Muslims haven’t been involved in terrorist attacks on Indian soil at all. (They are needlessly harassed by the fascist Indian state solely because of their anti-Muslim hatred). At least there has been no evidence against IM or Muslim extremists! Note, however, that the rules of evidence are slightly less stringent when it comes to proving that Narendra Modi personally directed the Gujarat riots from his war room or that no temple ever existed on the site on which the Babri mosque once stood. As the wise people say, there is evidence and then there is EVIDENCE and some evidence is more equal than others!

    Perhaps Muslims haven’t been involved in any terrorist attack at all! Because Islam is a religion of peace and how can a person be a Muslim and simultaneously engage in terrorist acts? In fact he cannot be called an Islamic terrorist because as soon as he contemplates a terrorist act, he ceases to be a Muslim! (I recall Muslim leaders making such an argument on Indian television – not making this stuff up!). Also, didn’t the CIA and the Mossad (and perhaps the RAW) jointly organize 9/11 and shifted the blame to the hapless Muslims in order to have an excuse to invade Afghanisthan and Iraq? According to opinion surveys, approximately 40% of the worlds Muslims believe that anyway. Is Ms Ayyub among them? Finally, to the Tehelka editors, what exactly is progressive about encouraging such a culture of denialism?

    • Totally agree !!!unfortunately Tehelka raised an valid point regarding shoddy investigation but the aspect of admitting that in places like hyderabad muslim fundamentalism is a reality which tehelka and other mainsteam publications would like to ignore

    • If some journalist has credible evidence after conducting a thorough investigation that Hindu terrorists are not involved in blasts they are accused of being involved in then I don’t think anyone will ever raise any objection about that journo’s piece of investigation being published in press.Now just because some journos are presenting credible theories almost proving the innocence of Muslim youth should not make you feel uneasy or insecure. There are tons of articles published each day in support of Modi and his crimes. No one goes around branding thousands of writers of those tons of articles as Communals.However,you couldn’t perhaps help but succumb to the temptation of pointing out the last name of the person who wrote this particular article which indicates your way of thinking.

      According to many opinion surveys a considerable portion of America’s own population believes that 9/11 was a false flag. This includes a group of nearly 1600 respected Architects and Engineers in America who have made an organization to propound their theory. So does that make them your objects of hate too?

    • I suggest you read the earlier incidents like Sansad Bhawan, Mumbai Attacks are just name a few wherein people were caught and they all were muslims.

  4. that’s what we call top notch journalism.. Stupid Indian media(specially of the 24×7 variety) and a corrupt and communal police force are doing immense damage to this country. anybody with an iota of intelligence will know that IM is nothing but a figment of imagination invented together by the media, police, and of course organizations like RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal to serve their own ends!!!!!!!!!!

  5. I agree with the author. the police take the easy way by arresting the plausible suspects, very convenient , fabricate evidence if need be and all ways in a hurry to close the case.I DO NOT THINK THE SOCALLED ISLAMIC TERRORISTS IN INDIA WILL BE SO BRAZEN ENOUGH TO TARGET hyderabad , A VERY OBVIOUS TARGET WITH MINARET LAXMI TEMPLE CRISIS , HATE SPEECH ETC.They at the very least are not amateurs

  6. So far IM is a name given to shadow/imagination in order to harass Innocent Men(IM). But I think muslim should learn something from this blame game, fight your own fights/battle no one will stand for justice, just ignore what other name you IM, JeM or Alpaida revive the spirit. IM is a good name.

  7. The Journalists, Saffron infested Police and Judiciary who wrongly accuse anyone without a solid material evidence shall be punished under stringent law.And the innocents released must be paid compensation from the salaries of those who indicted them.
    By implicating innocent youths and naming different imaginary organizations, the media and the police always tries to derail the investigations and help the real perpetrators flee.
    The media and Police is intentionally avoiding the investigations considering “FALSE FLAG OPERATION” by the perpetrators of Makkah Masjid, Malegaun, Ajmer Blasts.

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